Researchers 3D-print heart from human patient’s cells

3D printed heart human tissue

3D printed heart human tissue

Researchers from the Tel Aviv University reached a new milestone in medicine after they managed to 3D print the first fully vascularized heart in the world by using a patient's tissue and cells. "The resulting autologous engineered tissue can be transplanted back into the patient, to fix or replace injured/diseased organs with low risk of rejection".

Cardiovascular disease is the world's leading cause of death, according to the World Health Organization, and transplants are now the only option available for patients in the worst cases.

Heart transplantation is often the only treatment available to patients with end-stage heart failure.

A 3D image displays a computerised visualization of a human heart.

Then of them grew heart muscle cells.

Scientists extracted fatty tissue from the patient and processed them to form diverse personalised bio-inks to 3D print the heart, complete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers. In total, the printing process took about three hours. The heart is seen as step forward in developing artificial organs for transplant. The developmental hearts are theoretically compatible with the immunological, cellular, biochemical, and anatomical properties of the patient.

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Moreover, scientists have not yet figured out how to expand the cells to a size suitable for humans or recreate tiny blood vessels because current printers are limited in their resolution and power.

The researchers are now planning on culturing the printed hearts in the lab and "teaching them to behave" like hearts, Dvir said. Further research is needed, but the initial results are promising. The cells are now able to contract, but do not yet have the ability to pump. "Our hope is that we will succeed and prove our method's efficacy and usefulness", Dvir said.

Maybe in a decade, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely, according to Tel Aviv university statement.

Norbert Radacsi, a chemical engineering lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the latest research, described the development as an "amazing breakthrough", but noted that there are still several issues to be addressed.

Calling it a "major breakthrough", scientists say they hope the technology could produce hearts suitable for transplant into humans as well as patches to fix or regenerate defective hearts. Though the heart is much smaller than a human's (it's only the size of a rabbit's), and there's still a long way to go until it functions like a normal heart, the proof-of-concept experiment could eventually lead to personalized organs or tissues that could be used in the human body, according to a study published Monday (April 15) in the journal Advanced Science.

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